Why this purse costs more than the average house

Christie’s sold an Hermès handbag on Wednesday evening in London for nearly $300,000, the most expensive handbag ever sold for in Europe. The auction house called the purse “the most desirable handbag in existence.” It’s one of just a handful ever made of this particular style, the Matte Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35.

Iconic Hermès Birkin bags are objects of intense desire and fascination. Starting prices for the smallest and most simple versions cost upwards of $10,000, and rare, limited-edition iterations, like the Himalaya, can push prices into new stratospheres. Even you have the money to buy one, there’s often a months- or even years-long waiting list to purchase.

But the bag sold Wednesday evening is no ordinary Birkin. The “rare and exceptional” purse, made in 2010, is fashioned with 18 carat white gold and an estimated 10 carats of brilliant, colorless diamonds and crafted with Nile River-sourced crocodile, according to the auction house. The Himalaya reference in the name is not a nod to its origin, but rather the coloring.

An employee holds an Hermès diamond and Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin handbag at Heritage Auctions offices in Beverly Hills, Calif., September 22, 2014. The handbag has 242 diamonds with a total of 9.84 carats. Mario Anzuoni / REUTERS

The bag was estimated to be worth between 100,000 and 150,000 British Pounds, but ultimately sold for 236,750. That’s about 298,000 American dollars.

“The ravishing Hermès Himalaya Birkin Bag is considered the Holy Grail in a Handbag collection,” according to Christie’s website.

The purchaser, whose name was not disclosed, will be part of a small, well-heeled club of bag collectors who also sport Himalaya Birkins. Kim Kardashian has been seen out with one, and Victoria Beckham, former Spice Girl and wife of David Beckham, is known to keep one in her 100-plus Birkin collection.

While the bag fetched a price that would get you a three- or four-bedroom house in most of the country, it’s not the most expensive bag ever sold. The 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, designed by House of Mouawad, originally sold for $3.8 million in 2011 holds the top spot, featuring 4,517 diamonds with a total weight of 381.92 carats, according to the designer.

The bag back on the market and available to purchase via Christie’s private sales team, making it the perfect gift this holiday season for the person who has it all.

An email to Christie’s was not immediately returned.

Categories: Business

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